By Jon Rappoport. In his first statement to the press after his election as Pope, Francis said: “This is what I want, a poor church for the poor.” And a jet and an entourage and massive security, as he wings his way to bring that message of poverty to the masses. I wonder how the message would be received in America’s inner cities. The Pope’s recipe for change, if there is to be any change at all, seems to fall under the category of “income redistribution.” Apparently, carbon taxes and cap and trade would fit the redistribution agenda. Forget the fact that a carbon monarchy would drastically reduce available energy in the Third World. But don’t worry, poverty is good. Embrace it.
By Staff of Russia Today. New York, NY – Saving the planet is part of helping the poor and the excluded, Pope Francis told a UN summit. The pontiff called for a ban on nuclear weapons and chastised international finance and ‘ideological colonization’ for making the world worse. Addressing the UN Sustainable Development Summit on Friday, the head of the Roman Catholic Church made a nod to the importance of the UN, now that technology has enabled humanity to overcome distance and frontiers and “all natural limits to the exercise of power.” “Technological power, in the hands of nationalistic or falsely universalist ideologies, is capable of perpetrating tremendous atrocities,” the Pope said, praising the achievements of the UN in containing that potential as “lights which help to dispel the darkness of the disorder caused by unrestrained ambitions and collective forms of selfishness.”
By Joy First of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. Washington, DC – The voices of the people are not being heard as we are increasingly denied access to our government officials. For many, we have wanted to believe that we live in some kind of representative democracy where we can express our views to those we elect and it will make a difference, but that is not the case. A study published in the academic journal Perspectives on Politics found the majority of the American public has a “minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy” compared to the wealthy. Our first-hand experience confirmed the results of this study when we were locked out of Representative Paul Ryan’s office and then the White House in an action organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) as part of the week of actions of Campaign Nonviolence.
By David Cooper in Economic Policy Institute – Between 2013 and 2014, the poverty rate in most states was largely unchanged, according to yesterday’s release of state poverty statistics from the American Community Survey (ACS). While the poverty rate fell slightly for the country as a whole, most of the changes at the state level were too small to signify a meaningful difference. As of 2014, only two states—North Dakota and Colorado—have poverty rates at or below their 2007 values, before the Great Recession. From 2013 to 2014, the national poverty rate, as measured by the ACS, fell from 15.8 percent to 15.5 percent. Poverty rates declined in 34 states plus the District of Columbia, but only five of these changes were large enough to signify a measurable difference: Mississippi (-2.5 percentage points), Colorado (-1.0 percentage points), Washington, (-0.9 percentage points), Michigan (-0.8 percentage points), and North Carolina (-0.7 percentage points).
By Joy First of National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. Washington, DC – As activists for peace and social justice, how do we keep ourselves going in a world where there is so much despair? What we are facing today is enormous when we consider the systemic violence that leads to wars on several fronts, climate chaos, lack of health care, housing, and food, decline of the economy, police violence against people of color, a government that is totally unresponsive to its citizens and the list goes on and on. We are living in a world that is unsustainable as things now stand. The idea of hope is something we all grapple with when we are up against such great struggles in the world. Some people don’t like to use the word hope.
By Michele Biss in Rabble.CA. Canada – It’s the first of its kind: a human rights guide to ending poverty in Canada. A guide that clearly outlines what human rights mean concretely for policymakers, activists, community-makers and all other anti-poverty stakeholders. Last week, Canada Without Poverty released our Human Rights and Poverty Strategies, A Guide to International Human Rights Law and its Domestic Application in Poverty Reduction Strategies. This step-by-step guide breaks down international human rights obligations for all levels of government and stakeholders, and brings a human rights focus to poverty reduction work in local communities across Canada. The thing is, at Canada Without Poverty, we truly believe that we can end poverty.
By Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Peter Edelman, and LaDonna Pavetti in Talk Poverty – A new book by two of our nation’s foremost poverty researchers, Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, reveals the desperate circumstances that hundreds of thousands of children and their parents increasingly face: living with virtually no cash income in an economy that requires it to meet nearly every human need. In $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, Edin and Shaefer trace this disturbing trend to the 1996 welfare law, which has gradually but inexorably gutted the cash assistance safety net for families with children. Attention to this often neglected side of our nation’s extreme economic inequality is especially timely as policymakers from both parties consider reauthorizing the 1996 welfare law. As the book vividly shows, we are long overdue to take a different path — one that upholds our nation’s values, including our responsibility to protect and empower the most vulnerable by eliminating extreme poverty.
By Staff of Campaign Nonviolence – Campaign Nonviolence is a long-term movement to mainstream nonviolence and build a culture of peace in three interrelated ways: practicing nonviolence toward ourselves, toward all others, and toward the world by working to abolish war, end poverty, reverse the climate crisis, and challenge all violence. In cities and towns in all 50 states, Campaign Nonviolence will march against violence and for a world of peace, justice and sustainability. During Campaign Nonviolence Week, we will connect the dots between war, poverty, climate change, and all forms of violence —and join forces to work for a culture of peace.
By Diego Arguedas Ortiz in IPS News – Central America’s toolbox to pull 23 million people – almost half of the population – out of poverty must include three indispensable tools: universal access to water, a sustainable power supply, and adaptation to climate change. “These are the minimum, basic, necessary preconditions for guaranteeing survival,” Víctor Campos, assistant director of the Humboldt Centre, a leading Nicaraguan environmental think tank, told IPS. These three tools are especially important for agriculture, the engine of the regional economy, and particularly in rural areas and indigenous territories, which have the highest levels of poverty. Campos stressed that this is the minimum foundation for starting to work “towards addressing other issues that we must pay attention to, like education, health, or vulnerable groups; but first these conditions that guarantee minimal survival have to be in place.”
By David Masciotra in AlterNet – The war on the poor exposes the tyrannical turn of political administration in the United States – a country committed to mutating its criminal justice system, already more criminal than just, into an apparatus of assault against its most defenseless citizens. The following laws and policies give painful illustration to America’s attack on the poor in which the impoverished receive perpetual punishment for their poverty. This compilation does not include the mile-long list of policies that harm the poor, such as difficulty acquiring health care and child care, regressive taxation, or the cost of college. The following are policies in which state governments are actively levying the legal system against the poor.
By Rebecca Hiscott in Attn – Children from low-income households tend to have poorer academic performance and lower standardized test scores than kids from higher-income families, as well as more emotional and behavioral problems, including ADHD, depression, and anxiety. In adulthood, they typically hold fewer advanced degrees and have truncated earning potential. New research suggests this may, in part, be attributed to the way growing up in an impoverished home changes the brain. A study published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics followed 389 kids and teens, aged 4 to 22, from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds between 2001 and 2006.
By Ben Adler for Grist – Forty-seven years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, you might think that these problems are gradually disappearing. You would be wrong. “Architecture of Segregation,” a new study from the Century Foundation, a liberal think tank, finds that concentrated poverty, especially among African-Americans and Latinos, is actually getting worse. Among the key findings: “The number of people living in high-poverty ghettos, barrios, and slums has nearly doubled since 2000, rising from 7.2 million to 13.8 million.” “Poverty became more concentrated [since 2000] — more than one in four of the black poor and nearly one in six of the Hispanic poor lives in a neighborhood of extreme poverty, compared to one in thirteen of the white poor.” But the culprit isn’t simply racial discrimination — it’s also suburban sprawl.
By Gloria Walton in Scopela – In the last 20 years, SCOPE has emerged as a local laboratory for L.A. From day one, we were pushing the envelope. Experimenting. How do we build community power and influence? How do we elevate equity in all policies? We believe if you start by building a program for people with the most burdens, facing the greatest barriers, who come from the poorest communities, if you start there and build a program for those communities to succeed, then you have a program that will benefit everyone. SCOPE’s 20-year-old jobs model does that. Our model couples entry-level jobs with job-training and apprenticeships to create real career pathways into good-paying union jobs in entertainment, health care and the green economy. These programs go the extra mile by providing paid on-the-job training, mentoring by experienced senior workers and tutoring to help pass certification exams and tests.
By Alana Semuels in The Atlantic – Half a century after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty, the number of Americans living in slums is rising at an extraordinary pace. The number of people living in high-poverty areas—defined as census tracts where 40 percent or more of families have income levels below the federal poverty threshold—nearly doubled between 2000 and 2013, to 13.8 million from 7.2 million, according to a new analysis of census data by Paul Jargowsky, a public-policy professor at Rutgers University-Camden and a fellow at The Century Foundation. That’s the highest number of Americans living in high-poverty neighborhoods ever recorded. The development is worrying, especially since the number of people living in high-poverty areas fell 25 percent, to 7.2 million from 9.6 million, between 1990 and 2000.